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New York to require providers to offer $15 broadband to low-income customers – or get fined


New York can move ahead with a law requiring internet service providers to offer heavily discounted rates to low-income residents, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The decision from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan reverses a lower court ruling from 2021 that blocked the policy just days before it went into effect.

The law would force internet companies to give some low-income New Yorkers broadband service for as low as $15 a month, or face fines from the state.

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Telecoms trade groups sued over the law, arguing it would cost them too much money and that it wrongly superseded a federal law that governs internet service.

New York Senate

The New York state Senate meets in the Senate Chamber on the opening day of the legislative session at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

On Friday, the industry groups said they were weighing their next legal move.

“We are disappointed by the court’s decision and New York state’s move for rate regulation in competitive industries. It not only discourages the needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure, but also potentially risks the sustainability of broadband operations in many areas,” a statement read.

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New York state lawmakers approved the law in 2021 as part of the budget, with supporters arguing that the policy would give low-income residents a way to access the internet, which has become a vital utility.



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